bipolars with benefits

I’m too new at this whole thing to make much sense of and on it myself, but yes sir I can google … so I did. Most of the initial hits spoke of the upside of hypomania (a potentially irresponsible angle) and one offered me a course for $99. But wait,  there’s more …

The authors reviewed 81 studies that noted positive characteristics in patients with bipolar and found a strong association with five qualities: spirituality, empathy, creativity, realism, and resilience. Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, and colleagues from Tufts Medical Center in Boston concluded that encouraging an appreciation of the positive aspects of bipolar could help combat stigma and improve patient outcomes.

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It’s a cool thing to read, but it basically just keeps repeating the same thing. If you read Too Loud To Hear Too Bright To See by Juliann Garey, you’ll get a good look at how it all plays out right on the edge. Same thing, I think, if you read as much of Carrie Fisher’s writing as possible.

I’ve only just been diagnosed, but I’m already completely fed up with I hate bipolar it’s awesome memes.

It’s also easy to find tons of lists of famous and fabulous bipolar celebs and thinkers and artists, but while that’s fun, there’s also a lot of crashing and burning attached to it.


Hipster bipolar meme! Well, you didn’t really want to see van Gogh get yet another mention did you? That’s Mihai Eminescu, by the way.

Everything can be glibly summed up in a line I saw online the other day:

Bipolar people – great in bed, hard to live with.

There are benefits to just about anything you can think of, because at the very least, everything teaches us something, right?

“The drawbacks to bipolar disorder far outweigh any benefits,” says psychiatrist Charles Lake, MD, PhD

Perhaps the thing to remember though, is that regardless of stats and studies, regardless even of reality itself, if you’re cursed with bipolar, you may as well learn to appreciate its blessings too. But probably not by fucking with your meds to attempt to harness hypomania. Although this column by Juliann Garey suggests otherwise (under medical supervision), I couldn’t find any followup. Please drop me a link if you can.

This cartoon by Tall Guy makes a whole heap of sense to me.

image takes an interesting look at five mental illnesses in the context of evolution, including Bipolar Disorder Helped Us Survive the Winter (and Get Laid). Problem is, apart from bipolar outreach programmes (to the geographical poles), I can’t think of contemporary practical applications. Oh well, I guess at least it meant we didn’t get culled?


I love you Keanu, but shush.


Anyway, that’s the Google overview and now it’s installed in my brain, I’ll ponder it as I go along. And I’m on the lookout for benefits that don’t arise from hypomania.

Morbid me would like to remind you that everything comes at a price. The manic-depressive episodes damage our brains. Our lifespans are shorter and we are vilified all over the net as relationship material. Et-bloody-cetera. See the good, yes, but take your damn pills.

So far, this is my favourite quote about bipolar. Take it away, Carrie Fisher …

One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.


“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.” 

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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

6 thoughts on “bipolars with benefits”

  1. I remember when I was first diagnosed and I felt very much the same as you, so much information yet none of it particularly useful. After years of being told I had clinical depression I suddenly had Bipolar Disorder, I’m almost ten years on from that now and tend to filter a lot of what Google tells me these days…but those memes, God damn sometimes they drive me crazy without the need for my symptoms!

    A few books I found particularly helpful were by Lana R Castle someone with bipolar herself: Bipolar Disorder Demystified and Finding Your Bipolar Muse. Both of these tackle the lows aswell as the highs and realistic coping mechanisms and the reality of needing your meds.

    Good luck!

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  2. How much it all makes sense… I will go back to them. I feel like mine is a race against time, as I feel it, I know I am burning up too fast. This period of “rest”, of relative calm, is good, but I can feel that I won’t live as long as I would without all these ups and downs and lefts and rights and ins and outs. My memory is increasingly shit, and I used to be very sharp. My sense of direction, of north and south. My eyes are foggy, my mind gets wobbly and I can just feel it all getting damaged as we speak. That is why I feel on one hand I must make the most of it while I can, there is stuff I need to do. But I also want to see my grandkids, if possible, you know? Be there for the kids like my mum was not for me. And yet… a diagnosis and meds might stop me from doing what I need to do, make me focus too much on the fucking mental situation rather than focusing on life despite the mental situation. Still musing as you can see. But all the work you’ve done, the knowledge you’ve accumulated: this is all priceless. Thank you. You help so many, are you aware of that? I know I’m not alone in wanting to give you something back x


    1. “I will go back to them” means I may go and ask for a “retry” after I get the letter from the psych nurse. Sorry I know you’re smart but you’re not psychic and I can’t expect you to guess what I’m saying :D


  3. I keep hearing people saying how they wish they could clone me or some shit, because as you know I’m secretly a superhero and I’m perfect (FML, ROFLMAO). Like because I clean house and changed diapers fearlessly and love passionately, it makes me so good. Ha. I mean, sure I may bleed spirituality, empathy, creativity, realism, and resilience if you cut me, but I also bleed blind rage, inadequacy, isolation fantasies, self-doubt, desperation, poetry, delusions of grandeur and infatuation issues, oh and I’m a committed monogamous nympho who suffers rejection somewhere between 4 and 6 out of 7 tries (again, FML). And I crave double-portion servings of various meats, but that may be unrelated. The cloning thing inspires the question, what if I’m my own identical twin, one depressive, the other manic, both angry, trapped in the one body, and I take four-month-long turns letting one or the other manifest his attitudes? That’d make anyone angry I think. Or batshit. Angrier than Lokai and Bele-


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